Tea Party support falls to near-record low

Public support for the Tea Party has fallen to a near-record low, with just 22 percent of people supporting the grassroots conservative movement, according to a new Gallup poll released Thursday. 

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As Congress tries to avert a government shutdown Oct. 1 and deal with the debt ceiling again, the movement is losing its base, the poll found. 

The Tea Party was at its peak during the 2010 midterm elections when Republicans recaptured the majority in the House that November. Gallup says 32 percent of people pledged support for the Tea Party at the time. 

Now, about half of people in the U.S. say they neither support nor oppose the movement, or have no opinion about it, the survey indicates. 

While Tea Party supporters mostly associate with the Republican Party, their close relationship may be waning, Gallup says. 

Fifty-five percent favor the GOP, and 43 percent have an unfavorable view. 

In fact, Tea Party supporters may feel just as negatively about the GOP as they do about Democrats. 

Sens. Rand Paul, (R-Ky.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) are some of the most prominent Tea Party members in Congress. The first two are potential GOP contenders for the 2016 presidential race. 

Cruz and Lee ignited the ongoing defund ObamaCare fight, convincing GOP House leadership to pursue it in the government spending bill needed to avert a government shutdown. 

The House passed the bill with defunding language last week. 

From Tuesday into Wednesday afternoon, Cruz, with Lee’s help, attacked President Obama’s healthcare law on the Senate floor for more than 21 hours, ahead of a Senate vote to move forward on the House bill. 

Many of Cruz’s Republican colleagues have questioned the freshman senator's political tactics, which may be a sign of their frustration with the Tea Party as a whole.